weight loss

Get your Groove Back

Summertime, vacations, cook-outs, what’s your excuse? For me it was a bad landing on an exercise jump that left my knee in a big mess. Forget about squats and lunges, I was struggling to bend the leg enough to get in and out of the car. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) this happened right before taking the flight to our Florida family vacation. So initial plans of beach workouts, filming new videos for my online bootcamps, runs along the beach, and water aerobics changed to sitting in the chair, elevated leg, ice, and a good dose of patience. Maybe a little R&R isn’t so bad every now and then.

Despite billions of dollars spent on gym memberships, diet programs, etc., a recent paper published by the Mayo Clinic reports that fewer than 3% of American adults are living a healthy lifestyle.

Less than 3%. Wow! Just Feel it Fitness has a lot of work to do! 😉

The study defined living a healthy lifestyle as meeting these four parameters:

  • Being sufficiently active (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week)
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Being a nonsmoker
  • Having a recommended body-fat percentage (5%-20% for men, and 8%-30% for women)

The results of the study showed many people accomplished multiple healthy lifestyle goals. 16% met three of the healthy characteristics, 37% had two, but fewer than 3% met all four. Women were more likely to not smoke and to eat a healthy diet, and were less likely to be active, compared with men. Older individuals were more likely to be nonsmokers and healthy eaters, and were less likely to have a normal body-fat percentage and active enough.

Granted, this is only a study of 5,000 American adults, but the bottom line this study does an excellent job at providing four concrete steps anyone can take to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Things happen like injuries and vacations and busy periods at work. Life gets crazy. Getting back into a fitness groove can be tough. I know. But get your groove back. None of these steps are easy to take. However, even small improvements make a difference and any effort toward these 4 lifestyle goals can have a life changing impact. Become a nonsmoker, be sufficiently active, eat a healthy diet, and achieve a recommended body –fat percentage.

I’d love to help you towards meeting these healthy lifestyle criteria.  Do you need help getting your groove back?

Our next round of Summer Slim Down starts July 18th. This is a 6 week Challenge. For more details, click here.

Have a great week,

Featured Recipe

Tuna Salad Boats

Tuna Salad Boats

1 can tuna
1/2 very ripe avocado
1/2 cup chopped purple grapes
Splash of white wine or champagne vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Large Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves

Mash the avocado with a fork. Combine with all other ingredients. Spoon onto large lettuce leaves and eat like a taco.

The Crunch Effect

Yes, crunches are a powerful tool to strengthen the abdominal area, but there may be another type of crunch that can help your waistline. I’m talking about the crunch effect, the impact the actual sound of crunching can have in terms of the amount of food we eat. We all know our senses play an important role in the eating experience. You’ve heard it said we eat with our eyes first. Second comes our sense of smell, taste and touch. But what about our sense of hearing? The sound of masticating our food could actually be playing a role in the amount of food we eat. (That explains why I could drink smoothie after smoothie!)

Scientists performing research on the effect of food sound salience have found the more conscious a person is of the sound their food makes while they are eating; the less they are likely to eat. When you mask the sound of consumption by loud music or watching TV while eating, you may eat more than you normally would.

The main takeaway is to embrace mindfulness as part of your eating experience. We should be aware not only of the taste and physical appearance of food but also the sound it makes. For a delicious crunchy snack, be sure to check out the honey roasted almonds recipe below. (Warning: Not to be eaten while watching TV or amongst loud company!)

Have a great week,

Featured Recipe

Roasted almonds

Honey Roasted Almonds

2 cups unsalted almonds
2 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour almonds onto a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, the almonds will start to split when they are ready. Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle the honey on top. Vigorously shake the pan to cover all the almonds with honey. Allow the honey to harden (about 10 minutes).

Still Not Seeing Results

You hit the gym more days than most people you know. You bring your lunch and eat less than most people you know.  You can run miles around your friends.  But, you’re still not seeing the results you are hoping for. If this resonates with you, here are a few items to consider. Just run a quick self-check and let’s see how you answer the following questions:

Are you getting enough sleep?
Are you eating adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrates for the amount of energy and time you spend training?
Are you over training/under training?
Are you lifting weights?

When it comes to not seeing the results we are hoping for, we have to consider all these things.

Sleep is essential for the repair of our muscles. When you train you are breaking down muscle fibers and the only way for them to grow back and repair themselves is when your body is sleeping. Try to hit the hay around the same time every night. Kids need routines, and so do we. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

The amount of protein and carbohydrates you consume should be adjusted according to your activity level. You need a balanced approach that will give you all the energy you need to power through your workouts and your daily lives, while still helping you lose weight. Fuel your body with the power of protein.

Maybe you are training too hard. When we truly are over-training, the elevated cortisol levels keep your body in a state of stress. This causes your body to store fat, not shed. Aim for 2-3 resistance training sessions per week and 3 heart pumping/cardio activities.

Lifting weights helps to build strong lean muscle mass. Muscle burns calories faster, even while at rest. Build the muscle, eat accordingly, sleep so your body can repair itself, and sit back and watch the weight fall off. Ok, let’s be realistic, it’s not that simple. But we do break it down into a very simple manner with the Just Feel it Fitness 6 Week Summer Slim Down Program.

If you’ve hit a plateau and you are looking for a plan of action, this program is for you. Stop comparing yourself to anyone but the best version of yourself.

Ready for the Plan? Resistance + Cardio workouts that can be done from your home or gym, Meal Planning Tips and Tricks, Daily Accountability from me. Put it all together and get the results you’ve been hoping for (lean, sculpted abs just in time for summer!).  Our next group starts May 23rd. Check it out here.

Have a great week,

Who doesn’t love a good Challenge?

push yourself

I love a good challenge. The feeling of working toward a lofty goal and accomplishing it at the end is an awesome feeling, right? Many of you heard me talking about my 60 day Master’s Hammer & Chisel Challenge I started back in January. This was an intense weight training program, a little different than the standard functional training I typically incorporate with clients. I would almost call the program something more like body building.

The Master’s Hammer and Chisel is an innovative resistance training system created by Autumn Calabrese and Sagi Kalev of Beachbody, professional trainers and fitness competitors. The program focuses on SSP Training: Stabilization, Strength, and Power. I set a goal to complete this 60 day body sculpting program, 6 days a week of resistance training for a total of 8 weeks. And it’s done, woohoo! And the honest truth is that it kicked my butt! But I stuck with the workouts, and am proud to have accomplished the full program. Some days I felt like it was more difficult than marathon training even though these workouts only take 30-45 minutes each day and marathon training is more along the lines of 45 minutes to 2 hours some days! My physical results from this program include more defined muscles and definite strength gains such as: improved push-ups, pull ups, chin ups, pistol squats, etc. The program calls for light, medium, and heavy weights and I used 10, 15, and 20 pounds accordingly. Do I look like a body builder? No! Do I feel stronger, leaner, and proud of completing a challenging program? Yes!
With nicer weather upon us and summer just around the corner, I’d like to encourage you to find a challenge that will motivate you and push you out of your comfort zone. Commit to something that will push you and that you will feel proud and accomplished when done. Need some ideas? Sign up for a 5 or 10k run in your community. Join a triathlon training group.  Or why not join the Just Feel it Fitness 6 Week Summer Slim Down Challenge starting Monday, April 11th!  This 6 week Challenge will focus on clean eating, cardio and strength training workouts that you can complete from home with minimal equipment. I’m running an amazing promotion on this program, guaranteed to help you achieve phenomenal results! Just ask me for more info today.

After the Summer Slim Down Challenge, I’ll be working on getting ready for the Montreal Half Marathon in September. I would love to help you find a Challenge that will motivate and push you out of your comfort zone and into confidence. Let’s do it!

Have a great week,

Featured Recipe

Nori wraps

Nori Wraps

Try this crunchy wrap instead of a sandwich for a light and delicious lunch.

4 sheets Nori 

1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 mango, thinly sliced
Handful of alfalfa or pea sprouts
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced


Lay out 1 sheet of nori and moisten it by sprinkling water on it. Place the vegetables along one end and roll it up into a wrap! Enjoy!

Recipe from “The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet” by Yuri Elkaim.

Is your sleep routing affecting weight loss?

I hesitate talking about the need for sleep and bedtime routines because we are still heavy in the midst of nighttime wakings, babies in the bed, etc etc. If you are still waking up 2+ times a night to feed a baby/give a pacifier/ or calm a night terror, this post is probably not for you! Just stay the course and know the day will come that you’ll be able to sleep again. At least that’s what I keep telling myself!

However, if you have reached a time in your life where the possibility of a good night sleep is available and for whatever reason you aren’t taking it, here are a few reasons why you may want to change that.

Your cells repair themselves more rapidly at nighttime. The body produces higher levels of human growth hormone, which promotes cellular renewal, and your digestive system gets a break. So when you skip out on this, you are skipping these crucial processes.

Have you ever woken up from a short night’s sleep feeling starved? Research shows that sleep deprivation leads to increases in grehlin, the hunger hormone, and decreases in leptin, the hormone that tells the brain, ‘I’m full,” hence, less sleep equals more overeating.

Experts generally recommend 7-8 hours of sleep for healthy adults.

Some tips I have found helpful to getting a good night’s sleep include:

1. A little light stretching before you hit the sack can help put your mind at ease, steady your breath, and reduce muscle tension without revving up your heart rate. Stretching stimulates the release of hormones that relax the body.  Click here for some of my favorite stretches you can do before bedtime.

2. Setting a regular bedtime and wake time will get you into a good-sleep rhythm. At least on week nights, try to stick to a similar bedtime and rise time each day. Your body is very good at sticking to a routine and learning to adapt to your patterns.

3. Turn off the electronics an hour before you go to bed.  Stop sitting in front of your computer or TV or cell phone. They are too stimulating to the brain and interfere with your sleep.  Ever wake up in the middle of a dream that incorporated a bunch of random people’s facebook posts you had seen just before falling asleep? Wild!

4. Keep the room dark.  Our bodies need darkness for production of melatonin, the important sleep hormone.  Again, if you still have the baby monitor glued to your night stand, this post is probably not for you yet! But I’ve realized by now, I will hear my baby cry if he needs me and that static and flashing lights of the monitor does interfere with a good night’s sleep.  I even recommend turning your cell phones over so the notifications won’t disturb your sleep.

5. Cut back on the afternoon coffee. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant with a typical half-life of seven hours, which means that half of it is still coursing through your veins seven hours later. So you’re not crazy, that late afternoon pick-me-up really is keeping you up.

6. Exercise also tremendously helps improve quality of sleep. I’m not suggesting exercise right before bed, but rather at some point during the day try to fit in 30 minutes – 1 hour of exercise.

Hope some of these tips can help you get a better night’s sleep, and better results with your weight loss journey.

How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

Have a great week,

Featured Recipe

Classic Egg Salad

I had all good intentions of suggesting you make egg salad with the leftover died Easter eggs! Upon peeling these glittery beauties, I thought I could just rinse off any glitter that was left on the eggs. But then once I peeled off all the shells, I realized some of the die had gone into the egg and it wasn’t coming off with water!!! So I’m not suggesting reusing the kids Easter art projects. It was a good idea in my head, but I think you better just boil some more eggs for this recipe.

2 hard boiled eggs
1 Tbsp diced celery
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup pickle relish
Dash of paprika and salt and pepper

Coarsely chop the hard boiled eggs and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Place on bread with lettuce and tomato.


The best choice for the healthiest eggs is organic- it ensures good conditions and diet for the laying hens and no antibiotic use.

Does technology help weight loss?

Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Nike+ fuel band, Misfit, etc., there’s no shortage of technical weight loss tracking devices out there now aimed to help you monitor your movement. Even the new iPhones have a built in app that measures your steps. Companies are implementing step contests, and friends and family members are challenging each other to see who takes more steps in a day. Technology has definitely made its mark on the weight loss industry. In addition to the step tracking devices, there are countless apps to help you track your food intake and count your calories.

But does all this really help? Or is it just another way to boost consumerism?

Personally, I have been wearing a fit bit on and off for over a year. I think the most valuable benefit I have gained by wearing it is awareness. The key to a healthy fitness or weight loss journey is awareness. If you really want to maintain healthy habits, you must be conscious of everything you put into your body and everything active that you do for your body. The Fitbit has helped me have a better understanding of my activity level. It is not uncommon that if I look down at the bracelet and haven’t hit my 10,000 steps, I will actually get up and move around the house/walk stairs/or play a game of tag with the kids just to hit my step goal. Would I be motivated to get off the couch and run around the house at 8pm if I wasn’t aware of my steps for the day? Most likely not. So for the simple awareness these tracking devices provide, I think they are fantastic.

I would recommend to anyone wanting to lose weight that it is imperative to start tracking their food intake as well as activity level. You are far more likely to succeed if you are paying attention to and tracking your habits. In my personal experience with food tracking apps, I find the “My Fitness Pal” app the most user friendly. You can bar code scan just about anything in your kitchen, choose the serving size, and with one click you have collected your calories and they have been broken down by macro nutrients for you. You can even enter a goal and after each day’s food input, the app will tell you approximately how long it will take you to reach your goal. This is a really helpful and interesting app. But I still prefer pen and paper. I already have my meal plan broken down by the daily macro nutrients needed, and I find it easier to just keep the piece of paper handy and check off/write down when I eat something.

Has technology helped you with your weight loss goals? If you need some help implementing a tracking system and breaking down what foods to be eating each day, I’d love the opportunity to help you with your weight loss goals.

Have a great week,

mini muffins

Featured Recipe

Double Chocolate Mini Muffins

With Valentine’s coming up, I know there will be loads of chocolates everywhere this week. I decided to mix up a batch of these Double Chocolate Mini Muffins to help curb the cravings!

5 scoops Chocolate Protein Powder (I use Vegan Chocolate Shakeology meal replacement drink)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 TBSP Chocolate Chips
4 Egg Whites
3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a mini muffin tin with coconut oil.
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl
Mix wet ingredients in another bowl
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well
Batter will be very thick. Scoop spoonfuls into mini muffin tin and bake for 7 minutes. Be careful not to overcook these or they will be very dry.

Spiral Slicers

So I admit maybe it was a little selfish when I suggested to my sister that a cool gift she could get my husband for Christmas was a vegetable spiralizer. Just a little.  But, it wasn’t a terribly expensive investment, and I knew it would be good for the whole family!

And I’ll also admit 4 weeks later, I was still looking at this contraption wondering how in the world was I going to create those beautiful vegetable noodles like I’ve been seeing all over the cooking blogs and magazines?  I was very consumed with this thought that I would need a lot of time for this project, so I kept it on the back burner.
Much to my surprise, we created this in less than 30 minutes!

butternut squash 5

Now my mind is racing with ideas.  I’ll be able to make zucchini noodles with tomato sauce and get the kids to eat more vegetables. And I’ll make spiralized apple and carrot rings for beautiful salads. And I’ll make spiralized sweet potato French fries. The possibilities are endless!  Now I know how simple it is, and I can’t wait to share this with you.

Honestly, for $30, this is a fun addition to any kitchen.

I cut the thick skin off of a butternut squash, leaving the bright orange flesh showing. I set the bulb of the squash aside, and put the rest of the squash into “the machine.” A few cranks of the handle and 5 minutes later, these beautiful, squash “noodles” appeared.

butternut squash 2

I layered the noodles on a cooking sheet and baked them. (Full recipe below)

butternut squash 3

Baby scallops sautéed with olive oil, a little cherry tomatoes, onion, and cilantro were delicious served on top. Toppings are endless for these hearty, scrumptious vegetable noodles. For anyone looking for ways to cut down your pasta intake, or for all those people suffering with gluten intolerances, this is a game changer.

butternut squash 4

I can’t wait to try more fruits and vegetables with “our” new tool. See it wasn’t so selfish after all! Have you tried a veggie spiralizer yet? I would love to hear what you have made with it.

Have a great week,

Featured Recipe

Spiralized Butternut Squash Noodles with Baby Scallops served on top

1 medium butternut squash
1 package of frozen and defrosted baby scallops
Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced

To make the noodles:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the bulb off of the squash. Cut the flesh off of the remaining stem of squash, revealing the bright orange flesh. Place the squash into the spiralizer and turn the handle. Cut the noodles about every 12 inches. Place noodles onto a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Increase the oven to broil and cook for another 4-5 minutes, watching closely so as not to burn the noodles.

Sauté the onion, olive oil, and cherry tomatoes in a large pan for 5-10 minutes. Add the scallops, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste, and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve the scallops on top of the noodles. Enjoy!

Stock the Kitchen Series: Refrigerator

We all know that Clean Eating is good for us and it’s definitely a trend that’s here to stay. The reason is because the premise of Clean Eating is based on filling your body with whole foods and cutting back on (and ideally, eliminating) caffeine, processed sugar, alcohol, gluten, and dairy. “Removing these toxic triggers from your diet can make a hugely positive impact on your health,” says Alejandro Junger, M.D., author of the book Clean Eats. “Most people have more energy as a result, and some have even overcome issues like chronic headaches and seasonal allergies.” In case you missed my recent post on Clean Eating, you can read more in detail here.

So we all know that eating clean is the way to go but what does that look like in the kitchen? Keeping your kitchen well-stocked will make clean eating easy and fun. Part 1 of my stock the kitchen series addresses the Refrigerator. (Coming soon will be the pantry)

1. Produce
A wide and colorful array of fruits and vegetables should lay the foundation. Stock up on leafy greens, such as arugula, Swiss chard, and kale. Carrots, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables are also good choices since they’re great for adding density to a meal. Fill the crisper with all colors of the rainbow like apples, berries, grapes, and citrus fruits.

2. Meat
The key here is purchasing good-quality beef and poultry. Grass-fed, organic, and pasture-raised are all good labels to look for. Try buying meat in bulk from your local farmers’ market (and storing leftovers in the freezer).

3. Fish
Go for smaller, cold-water varieties, which contain fewer heavy metals and toxins. Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring, and small halibut are all good options. If you’re supplementing whole fish with canned, be sure to look for “wild-caught” on the label.

4. Eggs
It’s about as confusing as the yogurt section: Organic, Cage free, Free Range, Pasture-Raised, Hormone-Free… There are really only two labels you need to look for: organic and free range, which means the eggs are lower in inflammation-causing omega-6 fatty acids and higher in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other good-for-you nutrients like vitamins A, E, and beta-carotene.

Time saving tips:

  • When you stock your fridge each week, go ahead and prep easy-to-reach-for snacks. For example, cut up carrots and celery sticks to have ready to dip in hummus. When you get the craving for something crunchy, you can grab that instead of chips or crackers.
  • Same goes for fruit, go ahead and wash some of your grapes and cut up the strawberries so it’s easy to see a healthy snack ready for noshing.
  • Hard boil eggs and keep in the fridge. This makes a quick and easy addition to salads to pack in some protein.
  • Cook up a large serving of your favorite whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, or oatmeal for example) and keep in individual size portions in the fridge.
Here’s an image of my fridge this week. How do you like to stock your fridge? What time saving tips have you found that work for you?  I would love to see a picture!

Have a great week,



Strength Training is So Important

First- If you are currently an active walker or runner, way to go! You are motivated and committed to your health and fitness and that is fantastic! But if you are waiting for whatever reason to start strength training, stop waiting. I totally understand that the idea of doing it all at once can be overwhelming, but strength training is not only a huge part of losing weight and feeling healthy—it’s really been the KEY for me. Best of all, it is a lot easier than you might think.Don’t forget I am a long distance runner. I am a huge fan of cardio sessions. I love the way it makes me feel after and I love the satisfaction of knowing how many calories I’ve burned, how many steps I’ve taken, etc. But when it comes to long-term weight loss and feeling strong and lean: Strength Training is the magic key!

Let me break it down simply for you. Strength training builds muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active than body fat, thus muscle burns more calories per day at a resting heart rate than body fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns daily.

Additionally strength training keeps your joints mobile and promotes your ability to do daily activities without getting hurt. No matter what your age, or your goals, strength training is an important component of your fitness, and it’s never too late to start. And actually the older we get, it is even more important because strength training increases bone density which reduces the risk of fractures.

Convinced but not sure how to start? That’s ok, we all have to start somewhere. If you have never tried strength training before, you could start with these 3 basic strength training exercises that you can do in your living room with absolutely no equipment necessary.

Start with 10 of each and repeat twice for a total of three sets EVERYDAY!

  • Squat (review proper squatting technique here)
  • Stationary lunges, alternate legs
  • Push ups
And once you’ve got these exercises down, let me know so I can help you further increase your strength training. On October 1st we’re starting a 21 Day ONLINE FITNESS ACCOUNTABILITY Group.  I’m really excited and I would love to have you join me on this challenge!  Please send me an email if you are interested in more information!Have a great week,